Innovate Today to Succeed Tomorrow

Innovate Today to Succeed Tomorrow
by: Jerry Liao

Companies worldwide are looking for that magic pill on how to survive this so-called economic slowdown. They have tried everything like cost-cutting measures, retrenchments, discounts, and being conservative in their projections. Some even went to the extreme of closing down their business.

Sometimes, the answer is just around the corner. You don’t have to look far to find the answer. Sometimes what is required is for companies to go back to basics and do it well. As in put their focus and concentrate on their basic and core competence. For today’s small business to succeed tomorrow, the ability to innovate will be more than something nice to have, it will be a necessity.

New research shows that innovation will be essential for small businesses over the next decade as they try to thrive and survive by seizing new opportunities, improving their competitive position and providing more value to their customers.

The findings appear in the latest Intuit Future of Small Business Report, sponsored by Intuit Inc. and written by Emergent Research. It focuses on the key factors that drive, enable, amplify and shape the outcome of innovation, and the six characteristics of innovative companies.

Small business owners are natural innovators, the study found, with their inspiration driven by three needs: necessity, opportunity and ingenuity. Whether prompted by changes in the marketplace, competitive pressures or simply the desire to create something bigger and better, small businesses are constantly refining and redefining how they work and what they produce.

Compared to large corporations, small businesses have a number of innovation advantages that enable them to more readily identify opportunities, quickly react to changing conditions and remain competitive. Their smaller size makes it easier and cheaper to try new approaches faster than larger businesses. These six enablers include:

– Personal passion: Personally invested, most small business owners are willing to try new approaches to make their business more successful.

– Customer connection: A deep and direct relationship with the market and customers helps small businesses understand customer needs, identify new opportunities, and fix problems quickly and efficiently.

– Agility and adaptation: Unlike large corporations, small businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and implement new business practices.

– Experimentation and improvisation: When pursuing new opportunities, many small business owners and managers aren’t afraid to experiment and improvise, accepting failure as part of the path to success.

– Resource limitations: Small businesses are adept at doing more with less. And these resource constraints lend to their innovative mindset.

– Information sharing and collaboration: Small businesses traditionally rely on strong social networks to share information and inspire innovative thinking.

In addition, other factors amplify the ability to innovate. They include use of technology, access to capital, fostering a culture that values experimentation and building market knowledge. Also, government regulation can spur or rein in innovation.

Innovation occurs at all levels of small business, from the front office and dealing with customers, to the back room and producing products. Its outcome can also extend beyond the business, with effects that either sustain or change entire markets.

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